Why MOOCs may still be Silicon Valley's next grand challenge

Kylie Lacey's picture
Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The recent announcement from Sebastian Thrun, founder of MOOC provider Udacity, that he is abandoning his original "teach the world" educational vision and concentrating on corporate training, has been seen by many as marking the beginning of the end of what just a year was being touted as a major revolution in higher education that would disrupt the status quo and lead to many colleges and universities going out of business.

But as Hack Education's Audrey Watters commented, those conclusions and predictions miss the point that, from the start, Udacity was a very different player in the online education space from the other initiatives coming out of Stanford and MIT.

Udacity's focus, and business model, were always directed at (and around) computer science education, a very special, atypical case. Those of us that also got into the MOOC act in the early days, and many who have entered the space since then, came in with very different goals and expectations - and very definitely without a business model.

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